So... on 5/18/12 I finally had the opportunity to see my film “The Next Day” with an audience thanks to Mike D. and Reelblack.com. I was in and out during the screening so I didn’t have the opportunity to see the total reaction, but folks seemed to laugh where they were supposed to and no one walked out, which is always a good sign.
After the film was over, the lights came up and Mike D. introduced me. We sat down for the Q and A. The second question was more of a comment. A woman stood up and said: “I have to be honest. I didn’t get the point of the film. I don’t know why you made it. Nothing made sense to me. Everything you said in your intro? I didn’t get any of that from viewing the film. What were we supposed to conclude? Nothing was solved.”
My response was something like, ”I appreciate your honesty.”
Fast forward to the end of the thirty minute Q and A session. A few people wanted pictures and had additional questions which I answered. I looked at my watch and realized that I was about to miss my train, so I rushed out and made it just in time.
As I walked to my seat on the train, I saw the woman who told me she didn’t see the point of my film.
She reiterated that she didn’t get the point of the film. Why did the female protagonist continue to pursue a man who clearly did not want her? And what was the guy's problem? Why was he so selfish and controlling? We talked for a few minutes... and then it was revealed.
She said: “This is probably too much information but the film reminded me of my relationship with my college boyfriend. He was always so mean to me but on paper we should have made a great couple. I could never figure out what his problem was.”
She went on to say that, even now, ten years later, she wonders if she knew what his problem was, whether they could have solved it, and made it as a couple.
My train stop came, and before I got off of the train she said: “In your next movie try and get into the guys mind so we can learn why men think the way they do.”
As I waited for my connecting train, I thought about our conversation and realized that she saw the female lead do the same things she had done, and didn’t like seeing, essentially, her story on screen. The fact that she didn’t like it is a clear indication that I did my job as a filmmaker. I told the truth. Period.
Whether you like it or not will be determined by your life experiences. I have no control over how you react to what I present, nor do I want to control it. I want your reaction to be visceral.
I guess the lesson to be learned here is that an accolade will not always look or sound like an accolade. It may sound like: “I didn’t really like your film.”
THE NEXT DAY website: http://botnfilms.blogspot.com/